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Algerian judo legend Salima Souakri wins 2020 IOC Women and Sport Award for Africa

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ARAB, FR

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© Copyright International Olympic Committee 2020. This content is the exclusive property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is made available to you for bona fide media reporting purposes on the basis of the Creative Commons / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 IGO license terms. All rights reserved.
Location: Algiers, Algeria

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Algerian judo legend Salima Souakri fought in four Olympic Games. But her biggest fight so far has been against prejudice and misogyny. 

“I once applied for a position at a judo union” recalls Salima. “The boss made a remark which is etched on my mind: ‘Did we run out of men, that we need to appoint a woman now?’”

Salima was called up to the Algerian national judo team aged just 16 and made her sensational debut at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992.

But persecution in her homeland followed: “As a woman, I had a right to succeed for myself but also for all oppressed women who lack the courage to dream. Instead of staying at home crying and giving up, I wanted to continue fighting.”

Salima fought in three more Olympics, coming close to medals in both 1996 and 2004. 

Since retirement she has devoted herself to the cause of gender equality, as coach of the women’s national judo team and as the first-ever female Algerian UNICEF goodwill ambassador: 

“I am so very happy with this wonderful honour from the International Olympic Committee. This prize is a prize for women and sport of which I am so very proud. As it came after a thirty-six-year athletic career, this prize came to crown this journey. So, I am very happy and especially very proud.”

Copyright

© Copyright International Olympic Committee 2020. This content is the exclusive property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is made available to you for bona fide media reporting purposes on the basis of the Creative Commons / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 IGO license terms. All rights reserved.

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